When a family plans a visit to any of the theme parks at Disney World, the hope is for some great weather all day long. Unfortunately, Central Florida doesn’t always cooperate. Especially in the summer, there are frequent downpours in the middle of the day.
What to do at the Animal Kingdom if it rains? Disney has made all of their parks enjoyable even when it is raining. There are plenty of indoor activities that are perfect to pass the time:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na’vi River Journey
- Kilimanjaro Safari
- Tough to be a Bug
- Finding Nemo the Musical
- Festival of the Lion King
- The Conservation Station
- Souvenir Shops
Avatar Flight Of Passage
The line for Avatar Flight Of Passage is a long one. However, if it seems like it might be a long storm, this is the best time to wait in line instead of wasting some of the good weather. Especially, since the line is mostly covered, which helps during the storm. Since it is an indoor ride it will be up and running even during inclement weather.
While getting a Fast Pass is the best way to enjoy this ride it’s not always possible. If you want to ride it again, or missed out on a Fast Pass, a rainstorm is probably your best bet for a shorter line.
Na’vi River Journey
Are the lines too long at Avatar Flight of Passage? The Na’vi River Journey is not quite as popular, mostly because it is a more relaxed, family-friendly ride. It is indoors as well, and the queue is mostly protected. This might be the best ride to wait out the rain if attending Disney World with a family. It allows everyone to stay together, and it is very cool and temperature once inside.
The ride itself has some of the best use of technology in all of Disney. It is easy to tell just how much effort they put into making this such a unique ride. The audio-animatronics, in particular, stand out.
Like Flight of Passage, there are fast passes available. And for Na’vi, they are way easier to get. It’s always encouraged to use the fast passes on the newest rides because they tend to fill up quickly. Still, if in the area, this is a great way to hideaway and still be productive with your time during a storm. If it isn’t too bad, the ride never even stops.
Some people may not realize that the safari runs under subpar weather conditions. As long as the storm isn’t too intense, they still stay on schedule throughout the day. It is a different experience, but sometimes it works out for the best. Not only does it generally seem to be less busy, but some animals prefer being out when it is raining. The rain can be relaxing for them, and sometimes it activates otherwise the sleeping animals during the day. The weather also cools down quite a bit during the rain and right after.
Coverage is pretty good on the safari, but it isn’t something to do to stay completely dry. Since there is a lot of moving around, there might be some rain coming in from the sides. Rain does seem to cut down the line quite a bit, so take a chance on it and see how enjoyable it is. It might even be worth doing a second time to see the differences.
Tough to be a Bug
Inside the Tree of Life, it’s Tough to be a Bug has turned into a fan favorite. It is a 4-D show that is very interactive for children and adults. The show has several elements that captivate a child’s interest. Every single person receives 3-D glasses before they walk in, but most are pleasantly surprised with the different smells, water shooting out of the wall and more.
The show is only about nine minutes long, but with the queue, it is usually long enough to wait out an afternoon shower. Even though it has been around for a while, it still has a futuristic feel to it. Disney has done a great job of keeping the look and feel of the show very current.
Finding Nemo the Musical
Since 2007, Finding Nemo the Musical has been a very popular show inside the Animal Kingdom. It is a live-action musical stage show that runs 40 minutes long. A lot of parents like the show not only for when it rains but if there just needs to be some downtime in general. Given that it’s towards the back of the park it’s a great way to rest the feet after miles of walking.
With a 1500-seat theater, there is plenty of space to usually sneak in. The show is a captivating compact version of the movie, and it has six different showings during the day.
Festival of the Lion King
With all the buzz surrounding the latest version of Lion King, the Festival of the Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has renewed interest. It is a show filled with music, dancing, acrobatics, fire and more.
Not only is it completely covered inside the theater, but the queue is covered as well. This is great news for people trying to stay dry. Expect it to be a little more crowded than usual for the next few months because of the renewed buzz around Lion King, but still a great idea if you are looking to get out of the rain.
The entire show runs about 30 minutes, but it flies by quickly. This is usually more than enough time to wait for a storm to pass. Even if it doesn’t storm, it’s like Finding Nemo the Musical in that it’s a built-in break for the feet.
The Conservation Station
For those looking to meet a Disney character, they tend to hang out in The Conservation Station when it is raining. Rafiki, in particular, is seemingly always around rain or shine.
The Conservation Station is the most educational part of the Animal Kingdom. It’s also a great place to stay dry. The Conservation Station has some intriguing features, including some beautiful mural art, a unique look at the animal care and even some great cast meet and greets.
Enough is going on that it can be a great place to make a pitstop for the rain. Whether it be watching an informational movie or seeing animal health teams work with animals up close, it’s a different break from what people picture when they think of a theme park.
This is the scariest ride that is completely indoors at Animal Kingdom. Originally known as Countdown to Extinction, it has been a staple in the DinoLand U.S.A. since 1998. It does have a 40″ height requirement, so families with younger kids need to understand that before heading that way.
It is a very short ride, and since it is over 20 years old, it usually doesn’t tend to have a long queue. It does fill up during inclement weather, so get in line soon after the rain seems to be forming. Disney does a great job of keeping the area cool with fans, misters and more, which is always an added plus if it starts to feel a little muggy.
Most people visiting Disney at one point feel the need to do some souvenir shopping. Since this can be done rain or shine, no need to waste valuable sunshine shopping when you can put this task off until it inevitably rains.
The biggest and best souvenir shops are going to be near rides with a long wait. They are also gonna get larger crowds during the rainstorms but they still are a great place to waste some time waiting out the storm. In particular, right now the souvenir shop at Pandora is one of the best. It is very big, has a lot of interesting items, and quick access to food if you get hungry waiting.
Part of the all-day experience at Animal Kingdom is enjoying some unique food. When it rains, the restaurants tend to fill up in a hurry. This is what it helps to look at the forecast and be somewhat proactive. If you notice the clouds rolling in duck into a restaurant quickly.
Most showers in Central Florida occur during the late afternoon. So grab a late lunch or an early dinner to help maximize the rest of the day. What are some of the best restaurants to try during inclement weather?
Flame Tree Barbeque
Looking for a quick bite to eat during the storm? This is an extremely popular place to stop by, and it is budget-friendly as well. In the heart of Discovery Island, it is well known for its tasty pulled pork and ribs. They also have some of the tastiest macaroni & cheese imaginable.
There is shaded outdoor seating nearby, but it becomes pretty limited when there is bad weather. The good news is it easy to eat standing up, so find a sliver of shelter and make the most of it. It might not be ideal, but the taste of the food will make most forget.
Perhaps the most iconic restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the Rainforest Café. Families can enjoy a great ambiance while eating some pretty affordable food as well. It is a chain restaurant with over 10 locations scattered around the United States, but it fits in best at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
A family of four can easily stay under $80 if they wish. The most expensive meals are around $35. Most children eating at the Rainforest Café are only half paying attention to their food anyway. There is so much to see inside that it is an attraction itself.
Yak & Yeti
Yak & Yeti, located in the Asia part of Animal Kingdom, has a sit-down and quick service option for people to enjoy. Not only do they serve some authentic cuisine from the area, but they also have traditional American food for those younger children not wanting to try something too different.
The quick-service restaurant has smaller portions and cheaper prices. At the sit-down Yak & Yeti, the average entree is around $20. For those trying to stay healthy, this is one of the best restaurants to do that at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They have some great vegetarian items on the menu as well.
The best high-end restaurant in Animal Kingdom to try out is Tiffins. It is located near the Nomad Lounge, and it offers a variety of authentic dining options. There are not a lot of restaurants where it’s easy to get unique Asian, Latin and African food.
Expect to pay about $50 per person at Tiffins. It might not be a place big families want to go to, but it is the perfect spot for a step up in fine dining. They definitely take care of their customers when they step foot in the restaurant. They handle everything with a lot of l
Preparing for the Rain
Visitors to Animal Kingdom should always be prepared for the possibility of rain. Even if the forecast calls for a completely clear day, A short storm always has the chance of popping up. Disney allows for visitors to pack ponchos, umbrellas and other items to stay dry, so always take advantage of that.
Disney has rain gear for sale in Animal Kingdom, but it is going to come with a pretty hefty surcharge. There is no reason to pay that extra amount of money when you probably already own ponchos and an umbrella. Throw a towel or two into a purse or backpack as well and that should be sufficient for the majority of people to stay dry.
Having a Rain Plan in Place
To make the most out of a rainy part of the day, it’s important to have a rain plan in place. Be aware of all the different options that are interesting to your group and remember where they are located. When the sky starts to get dark and rain seems imminent, start working towards that area sooner rather than later. Most people are going to be scrambling last minute to find shelter and something to do, so stay ahead of the large crowds.
When it rains at Animal Kingdom, it’s like a giant game of musical chairs. Don’t be the ones caught without a place to go. It is very easy to get caught up in other parts of the park and caught off guard by a storm.
Animal Kingdom is the worst Disney theme park when dealing with a consistent amount of rain. With a little creativity, there is still plenty to do when waiting out a short rain delay.
Final Thoughts on Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the Rain
Yes, it is often recommended to stay away from Animal Kingdom if the weather is supposed to be miserable all day long. Fortunately, all-day showers and thunderstorms normally don’t occur in Central Florida. That’s why it is still perfectly fine to go to Animal Kingdom and enjoy all it has to offer.
This is the most outdoorsy park at Disney, so there is less covered area to escape to. It is very spread out as well, so the good news is there is never that claustrophobic feeling to deal with when everyone is trying to cram into one or two areas. Make the most of the rain, and don’t stress out about it too much. More often than not, the rain is very much needed, as it cools down the park and makes it much more comfortable temperature-wise the rest of the day. Right before a summer afternoon storm, it can feel like well over 100% with high humidity.